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27th April, 2018
THINGS are changing in my camp…
PHOTO CREDIT: Harvey Pearson
which is not to imply I am changing careers or coming out of the closet; I am not relocating overseas or reducing what I say on these pages – simply, there will be a couple of lifestyle changes. One of those alterations is a move from the edges of London to the centre of Manchester. The lure – and lower rent prices – of the North are calling and, with it, I am thinking about artists from there. My featured musician, Scott Quinn, has Yorkshire blood but, now, is down in London. I will chat a bit about those who carry that northern spirit in their blood and music; chat a little about artists who have that fan appeal and are destined for bigger things; solo songwriters standing out and producing something that settles in the heart. I will also discuss sound and the way certain musicians set you stunned. The reason for this is my new-found discovery of Nils Frahm. This might sound like a tangent but, considering his music, there is much to talk about. Scott Quinn, in many ways, makes me think of Frahm. I will also tackle artists who could affect change in the industry – writing a bit on artists and image. I will start with the last point – and work my way back – as Quinn has a rather dashing look and projects a confidence in front of the camera. It is something I bring up with a lot of artists (and get my backside bitten by some) but one would like to see some more snaps of Quinn out in the ether. He has a few promotional shots for his latest single but, looking back, he has changed a little and gaining a lot of traction. In fact, rather than obsess over my desire for more photos to come out into the open, I will discuss Quinn as a complete package. He is one of those artists who engages the listener and has something about him. Maybe it is a slight glint of Jeff Buckley or the combination of his aesthetics and music – something stands out from the pack and draws you in.
Whether he gets some more shoots organised and a bit more of a spread organised, I am not sure. Right now; he is letting his incredible sounds do all the talking – I get I should focus more on that. Maybe I have procrastinated but I wanted to speak about music this year and, well, how many letdowns there have been out there. Scott Quinn is an artist who always delivers the good and you know he will go all of the way. Each of his songs builds from the last and delivers something incredible and unique. I have seen big artists produce albums in 2018 and they have not really delivered what they set out to do. I am casting my mind around for an artist who has produced something end-of-year-winning-worthy but there is nothing that leaps to mind. Maybe it is too early to call the predictions but I feel there is something lacking in 2018. New music, to me, provides the real quality and artists who are worthy of bigger attention. One of the reasons I wanted to focus on Quinn is because of his determination, full sounds and consistency. This is not the first time I have reviewed his stuff: every time I come to his music, I hear the young man build and set his sights on the mainstream. I feel there needs to be more of an overhaul so that artists like Quinn get a quicker passage to the big leagues. Run is a title that makes you think of other artists – the likes of Foo Fighters and Snow Patrol have adopted the song name – but the contents of the song are very different. What amazes me about Scott Quinn is the depths and nuances that run through his music. I said I would talk about sound and how artists like Nils Frahm have come to my attention.
So many artists out there focus on vocals and do not really consider the sonics. There is that insistence on urgency and getting into the mindset; making sure the song races out of the traps and settles into the soul. Those who step aside and work fastidiously on texture and layers are to be applauded. Whilst Frahm is someone who can take the piano and produce something sensational still and evocative; Quinn creates amazement and emotion in a different way. I listen to his music and concentrate on the music and let it swim in my brain. It has that ability to settle me and lift the body at the same time. I hear too much music that captures me in regards the vocals and lyrics; Quinn manages to nail those and produce incredible, amazing music. One of the reasons Quinn has built his sound and improved is the success he has accrued and the places he has been. The young songwriter has performed abroad and gained a lot of respect from big sources. He has become braver with his writing and seen there is a market out there for him. There are a lot of Electronic-based artists out there but, to my mind; there are too many who expend needless energy and colour. They are all about physicality and having something radio-worthy: few take the trouble to go deeper and put their full self into the music. Scott Quinn is a man who wants success and attention but knows the way to do this is to create music that is personal and full-bodied. I am a big fan of artists who mix Electronic and Pop but there are not enough who do something different; too many samey and generic examples who do not really stand out in the mind. I will go on to look at other subjects but, before then; a little conversation about the North of England...
I mentioned how I am relocating to the North, soon, and putting London on-hold for a little bit – I shall move there when I have a bit more money in the pocket. In many ways, I am doing the opposite of Quinn: he started life in the North and now, as his career has taken off, he has settled into a nice part of the capital. I also mentioned how things are changing on my blog. One of those changes is focusing on artists I have never reviewed before – I had to include Quinn and his latest song. I am drawn to Manchester because the people and vibe there has a warmth and sense of allure that you do not get anywhere else. There is a vibrant scene and so many chances for a musician/writer. London is great but, unless you can sustain a life there; many are being priced-out and alienated. I love people from the North because, in terms of their music, one gets something you cannot get anywhere else. Maybe it is the way they are raised and the style of life there. I get the sense northern artists have a deeper sense of where music came from and there is a more relaxed and friendly way of living. That easier and less stressful existence means the music they (northern artists) provide tends to be a lot more attractive on the ear. Maybe I am over-simplifying things but there is a distinct northern tone and testament that music needs more of. Quinn has not neglected his Yorkshire roots and transformed into a Londoner. The reason I found Scott Quinn was a tip from another of my favourite northern artists: the incredible Billie Marten. She is another Yorkshire-born artist and, as far as I know, is still based up there – my hope is she releases another album this year. There is, I know, a definite split between the artists from the South and North.
I will move on to review Run in a bit but, before I get to it, I will look at artists building a base and getting proper kudos. I have noticed Scott Quinn recruiting and keeping the fans busy. He is getting a lot of praise from his latest song – it is clear people are reacting and getting behind the songwriter. Quinn has thousands of followers and is establishing himself as one of the most impressive young songwriters around. I wonder where this increasing popularity will take him. His songs are being played on the radio and, with backing from the likes of Marten; I am curious how Scott Quinn will ascend to the mainstream. That elevation and progression can be a curse for some: labels and record companies can mould an artist to sound too false and Pop-driven; strip away what makes them, well…them. Among all the musicians I see doing well and getting heat; all of those who are growing and gathering a huge number of fans – Scott Quinn seems to stand out. I have mentioned subjects like charisma, looks and a way of doing things. It is clear the whole package is a potent and important thing. He is an artist that leaps off the page and compels you to dig deep. His natural personality means he comes across very warm and thankful; an artist who appeals to every sense and urges you to stay with him. I am a big fan of his work and wonder where he might head next. It is tough being a songwriter in music right now. Every week, we are exposed to new artists and there is ample choice for every taste. We have been told streaming services have overtaken physical stores when it comes to buying music – more people are downloading and getting music online than any other time. That is positive in the sense new artists are among that statistic. One of the downsides is the competition and pressure.
How does a new artist come into the market and get right into the forefront?! Nobody is going to be huge right away but there is that need to lodge in the mind as soon as possible. Scott Quinn has got to where he is by creating and releasing great music that has a particular sound. I look back at Quinn’s earliest days and can see how he has grown. Now, a bit down the line; he is working hard and ensuring people get behind him. Although one hears an artist confident and ambition; he is part of a packed market and crowded landscape. It is as hard for him as anyone when it comes to attention and popularity. Streaming means everyone can get their hands on a Scott Quinn song at the click of a button. It is an exciting time for the young man and I know, in years to come, he will be riding high at the centre of the music industry. There are ways Quinn manages to stand out and get his music out to the masses. He has great management behind him and a team that supports his every move. He has been touring a lot and putting the miles in. Here is an artist who goes the extra mile – literally – and wants to see his fans up-close. I can envisage American dates for the man and a lot of popularity in that part of the world. Quinn is one of those people who translates easily and gets under the skin. His music mixes the familiarity of fellow Electronic but there are added dynamics and facets that distinguish itself from the competition. It is, I know, tricky to get ahead and stay in the thoughts as music gets busier. A hard work ethic and restlessness mean Quinn is bringing people into his tent and getting tongues wagging. This projection and momentum will continue as we go through 2018. I will talk about his future and next moves in the conclusion but, before I get to the song; let us consider artists who can attract others in and make a change in the scene.
Scott Quinn is someone who supports other artists and wants others to succeed. Maybe, again, that tracks back to his northern roots and how he was raised. I get a sense he wants to help others out and ensure they find success. We look out at the music scene and love what we hear, for sure, but, in my mind, there are few leaders and guides who can help affect changes and betterment in the industry. I feel Quinn is one of those people who inspires fellow musicians and gives strength to those coming through right now. I know other artists who cite Quinn as an idol and love what he is doing right now. He is a musician who puts his all into the world and wants to make changes. In terms of his sound, at least, he is pushing Electronic music in new directions and exploring sonic and lyrical corners few others are. It is hard to take all of these points into consideration and not get excited. I have reviewed many artists that have the ammunition to succeed and go very far in the business. A lot of times, that prediction comes from their sound and the way it resonates. In the case of Scott Quinn; he is someone whose appeal goes beyond music and what he is releasing. He has that natural-born way of working and persona that captivates the senses. If it sounds like I am going all gooey-eyed, musically, then you have to have a listen and investigate the young man. Music is rife with great artists who have something special about them. In order to separate those with genuine genius from those who are merely good; one must do some more investigation and study their whole self – rather than judge them on the music alone. I think Quinn is someone who can go all the way to the top and, when there, motivate a new generation of songwriters.
There are teasing beats and spacey electronics that open Run. It is a cosmic and trippy introduction that has a grounded and natural feel. That might sound like a contrast but, when listening, it is never too out-there and distant. The notes bubble and cascade; the threads tessellate and interlock – it is a gleaming and lustrous welcome that brings the listener in and intrigues the senses. Fingers are tracing a lost and helpless cause – a sentiment that stands out and unsettles the listener. Quinn has a commanding and deep voice that means every word has a gravitas and authority few others possess. I built images of a woman or lover guiding her fingers over his face and trying to urge a smile from his face. Maybe the hero is too down and going through something hard right now. It all seems rather defeated and numb: there is hope and the need to come out of this doldrums and improve. It seems, however, the hero is talking about someone who needs strength and betterment. Again, it might be a lover or someone he knows. They are down on their luck and things are not as golden and great as they could be. The hero offers his strength and commitment to ensure the person finds the direction they need. It is a humble and compassionate plea from someone who will not stand by and watch them unwind. The threads are coming loose and there are tears, for sure. Quinn is a singer who manages to deliver his words with incredible strength and depth. That word, ‘depth, keeps coming back in. Here is an artist who goes further and explores territory many do not. The composition is incredible and evocative; the voice is striking and stirring – the lyrics bring the listener in and you follow the storyline. The hero stands back and sees his subject run away from who they are. It is hard to see and, without knowing the background, we wonder who this person is. It seems like it is a woman and, perhaps, someone Quinn has been involved with.
One can actually look at the song and wonder whether, in some way, the hero is talking about himself. Maybe it is hard being that personal and open on the page – talking about your past through the guise of another is a way of exposing that hurt without being too revealing. Maybe I am getting ahead of things but, on the face of it; it is heartening seeing the hero offer arms to someone who is struggling. The song continues to change directions and explore new ground. The chorus is a bigger and more effusive burst that brings the vocal the fore and makes the spine tingle. Before then; one gets a little bit of Soul and R&B. There is a soulful and more sensual passage that comes out of the blue; the song twists and ventures without any warning. Scott Quinn is a songwriter who brings as much emotion and quality from his songs as possible. Run is a mobile and fluid song that never rests and goes through different stages. In a way; the music seems to reflect changing feelings and new thoughts. The song is a complex and hard-hitting thing that deserves proper attention and emotion. I was struck by the immediacy and complexities of the vocal. You get a real hit of tremulous desire but that maturity and focus. It is a bewitching and enticing combination of colours that swim in the blood and gets your imagination racing. There is a feeling deep inside (the heroine) that seems unending and pressing. I might be going to predictable sources when I say it is a woman being explored. Whatever the truth and origin of the song; you are gripped to the very last and inspired throughout. I have stated how the composition carries so much brilliance and really gets into the brain.
You need to listen to the vocal and the weight it carries! I could compare Quinn to someone like Sampha – there are similar tones – but his voice is much more complex and varied than that. He can go from a cooing and softer refrain to something explosive and impassioned; down to a distant and observant tone – it is a full and busy vocal that manages to convey so many different things. Kudos goes to Quinn for delivering a song that retains his sound and identity but manages to head in new directions. He is a songwriter getting better with time and writing music that surpasses so many of his peers’ stuff. I have come back to Run a few times and get something new with each visit. The song is quite an intense and emotional thing to understand upon the introduction spin. I was trying to unpick the origins and who is being represented in the song. The way the hero offers his arms and words to help the ailing other; the compassion that comes through the need to find out what is wrong…that is not something you get from a lot of songwriters. I hope the song’s inspirational point managed to find some solace and safety. Whatever compelled Quinn to write the song; it is a wonderful offering from one of our finest talents. Maybe Quinn is looking ahead to new material but, right now, people are responding to his brand-new offering. It is a brilliant and mesmeric number from Quinn. Maybe its true meanings and words take a little while to sink in – it might take a few listens to really register and seep into the senses – but, when you play it enough; everything coalesces and connects. Quinn has delivered, what I feel, is one of the strongest efforts from the world of new music.
I have vacillated and drooled in the direction of Scott Quinn for a bit, now. The reason I have delayed a few other reviews and squeezed him in is that I wanted to capture Run at its freshest. It is a song that is urgent and passionate but has so many ideas and tones working away. I felt, if I gave it too much time, I would not be able to capture the true aspects and fullness of the song. I know Quinn has gigs and stuff coming out – check out his social media channels for all the updates – and he will be thinking ahead to new music. I mooted whether Billie Marten is bringing anything out before the end of the year – maybe the two will collaborate on something?! I would love to see more Scott Quinn music as, every time I encounter a song of his, I am transported to a different world and learn something new. That might seem odd, given it is only music, but there is something unusual and wonderful about Quinn’s sound. I have brought in Nils Frahm and how he manages to entice the mind with his wonderful sonics and beautiful songs. Quinn is a more energised and fizzed songwriter – he inspires and drops the jaw in a different way. Sound and the way it is projected is a common factor that bonds the songwriters. Scott Quinn puts his all into music and ensures the compositions are as daring and intelligent and the vocals and lyrics. I will leave this now but, if you have not heard of Scott Quinn and what he is putting onto the page; ensure this is remedied and get behind him. I am excited to see where he goes and what comes next. He is gaining new fans by the day and so many people are keen to throw their weight behind him. I can see a busy and prosperous future ahead of the London-based songwriter. I know he has played in Europe and there will be U.S. dates, I am sure, soon.
The American peeps would take to Quinn and support everything he does. Run is the sound of a young artist who knows what music means to people and wants to touch lives. He has one eye on success and getting bigger; the other is on creating material that is true to him and different from everything else around. That is a hard balance and compromise: Quinn is unwilling to sell himself and record music that is commercial and easy. I have been tracking his movements and can see how he has developed over the years. Maybe there are visions of an album or E.P. later in the year but, right now, there is a single out there we all need to hear. Run is a perfect song for 2018 and what we all need right now: a dose of uplift alongside genuine emotion and beauty. It is an intoxicating brew that, I hope, has been summarised and detailed with enough clarity and truth. Congratulations, again, to a musician who has produced a terrific and potent song. In a rather damp, dreary and unpredictable time of the year; it is nice to discover a songwriter who always delivers and provides something warming and stunning. Where Scott Quinn heads now is up to him; where his music travels is in his hands – so many people want to see him in the flesh and follow where he goes. Run is a fantastic and memorable song that proves the young artist has a very…
PHOTO CREDIT: Harvey Pearson
BRIGHT and busy next few years ahead of him.
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